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An Expert's Hunt for History

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An Expert's Hunt for History

On the Trail of the World’s Lost Treasures

Evening Program

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, October 8, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1L0322
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
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Nathan Raab, the preeminent American dealer in rare documents, is contacted by at least 20 people every day looking to sell historical documents and artifacts. He constantly combs through other dealers’ catalogs and examines lots offered by the top auction houses. Forgeries are common and spotting them is an art in itself.

Raab’s collection includes documents and relics that once belonged to personalities ranging from Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and Mahatma Gandhi to Teddy Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, and Mark Twain. Join him as he shares the tales behind many of these artifacts, which so often offer a new window into the past: a letter from British officials that secured the Rosetta Stone; a piece of the first electric cable laid by Edison; a shredded letter from Andrew Jackson describing the policy that led to the infamous Trail of Tears; and copies of missing audio tapes recorded on Air Force One as the plane brought JFK’s body back to Washington.

Hear Raab tell the fascinating story of how he learned to tell the difference between real and forged artifacts, and of many amazing finds that were nearly lost to the ages. Whether it’s the first report of Napoleon’s death or an unpublished letter penned by Albert Einstein to a curious soldier, every document and artifact he uncovers comes with a spellbinding history.

Raab is one of the world's most knowledgeable and respected experts in historical documents. His writing has appeared in the New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer, and he frequently writes a column, Historically Speaking, for

Copies of his new book The Hunt for History (Simon & Schuster) are available for purchase.

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